BAKU -- The head of the media arm of Azerbaijan's Central Election Commission has expressed his concern over what he called the "propaganda mode" of presidential campaign coverage by RFE/RL, Voice of America, and the BBC.
Azer Tagiyev said on September 25 that programs broadcast by the three foreign media outlets attempted to influence voters and thus violated Azerbaijani election legislation.
Earlier on September 25, the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan (New Azerbaijan) Party sent a letter to the Central Election Commission complaining about what it called the "illegal" campaign coverage ahead of the October 9 presidential poll by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service.
The party said foreign media outlets are legally banned from "conducting preelection campaigns."
The director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Kenan Aliyev, rejected the ruling party's statements, calling them "classic scare tactics...to intimidate the independent press."
He called RFE/RL's coverage "balanced, fair, and professional."